Networking is essential for most businesses but since Covid have you changed the way you network? What are the benefits of face-to-face networking against virtual networking? We all know that networking can benefit your business in so many ways.

The benefits of Networking

  • You can build your support network.
  • You can create collaborations.
  • You can build relationships with people.
  • You get fresh ideas.
  • You’re energised and inspired.
  • You can grow your business.
  • You can access new information that may be helpful.
  • You can build your confidence.
  • You can get a different perspective.
  • You can build and promote your business brand.
  • Establish your expertise.
  • It helps you get outside your comfort zone.

If you live and work in a city the chances are that you can do a mixture of both. However, if you live out in the country, like I do, or have caring duties or physical disabilities the decision is more difficult. Especially now with the cost of living going up and the cost of fuel.  During the lockdown we were forced to do our networking online. How did that go? Here are the benefits and disadvantages of both virtual networking and face-to-face networking.

Virtual Networking

  • It’s more convenient as there is no travel time.
  • It’s less intimidating as you don’t have to walk into a room and find someone to speak with.
  • You can connect with more people, however not in the same depth as you would if you’d met face to face.
  • You don’t get the same connection virtually as you would face-to-face.
  • Virtual networking can be exhausting.
  • Some people feel that break out rooms are more inclusive; however, you can’t choose who to network with.

Face to Face Networking

  • Promotes good mental health as it gets you out of your office mixing with like-minded people.
  • You build stronger connections.
  • Quicker and more effective conversations as you don’t have to wait for the pause in the connection.
  • People are more collaborative and engaged in face-to-face conversations.
  • Not very cost effective as you must factor in travel, parking and the cost of the meeting and membership.
  • Affects your productivity as you must factor in time to travel as well as time for the meeting.
  • Face-to-face networking can be exhausting if you are an introvert.

What other advantages and disadvantages can you think of that affects you and your business?

Maybe the way forward is to do a combination of the two. Do the majority online but factor in one or two face-to-face networking events a month. If you live remotely make sure that you choose the face-to-face networking events that will have the most impact and where your ideal clients spend time together. Maybe meet up with clients or prospects before and after the event to make the best use of your time!